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Author Comment
(8/8/03 1:15 pm)
Growing up...
Here's another interesting article about today's adults who are still "hanging out at the edge of adulthood":

The children who won't grow up

It's quite long (I'm still reading it myself), but it brings to mind numerous themes that could be discussed:

adults reading children's books
growing popularity of fairy tales in film and fiction
comin-of-age tales
rites of passage

just to name a few... (some of which, I know, are already in current discussion, or were in past threads)

Dandelion wishes,


Unregistered User
(8/9/03 7:35 am)
The inner child.
I love reading children's books - especially Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series (which, during my own childhood, kept me captivated). Right now, I find myself going through James Gurney's 'Dinotopia' series which appeal to both children and adults.

Perhaps, those adults (me included) who are still "hanging out at the edge of adulthood" keep that sense of childlike wonder (amazement at the world, marvelling at things like magic... wonderment) alive. I mean, there are some folks who would say that adults who watch cartoons are immature etc etc.


Registered User
(8/10/03 10:18 am)
Re: The inner child.
Blackwolf express my point of view also, and I'd like to admit
something here, that I rarely admit. (Fist, to qualify that statement, let me say that I listen to books on tape, alot! I generally have one going in the car, on next to my bed, and I listen to Old Time Radio programs, on CD's, here on my laptop). Now... when I go to the library, I go through the Adult section, and find things like "the Disc World Series", which is somewhat fairytale-like, and then over the the Young Adult section, and find some of the best Fiction around, but (and here it is), I also go to the kid's section. I'll get books for 4 yr olds, books for 8 yr olds, books for 12 yr olds. I sometimes find one that I like so much, I keep track of the Title.

Point is, don't limit yourself to a specific type of reading. There are all kinds of food at the Smorgasboard, don't stand there by the chips and dip - move around!!

chirons daughter
Registered User
(8/17/03 3:51 pm)
Re: The inner child.
Blackwolf -- adults that watch cartoons immature?
One of my best friends (and deadliest sparring partners) opens one of his courses with a comparison of the structure of Looney Tunes and classic roman comedy. (It's been a few years since he could get the class to come to his house on a Saturday morning and sit on the floor with bowls of cereal to watch the cartoons, but. . .)

Registered User
(9/3/03 12:20 pm)
Well, I just read the article, and I'm not too impressed with this Frank Furedi guy. I found his tone unbearably superior. He seems so sure that there is something wrong with everyone except him and the occasional kindred spirit.

I didn't find his arguments particularly convincing. It seemed to me to be a long list of examples of people doing things he considers childish, with a few quotes thrown in to say "this is on the increase" and "there might be psychological reasons for it".

I don't know about the psychological reasons part, but I didn't find his evidence terribly persuasive. Is it really an increasing phenomenon? Perhaps so, but if we just look at his example of "boomerang kids": it's not so long ago that whole families living together, 3 generations in 1 house, was quite normal. I think that Furedi rather romanticises "striking out for independence", and that actually this has only really been accepted by (western) society for a relatively short time (didn't it really take off in the 1960s?).

Also, he didn't seem to say clearly why he finds "childish" behaviour so offensive/embarrassing. I mean, what exactly is so embarrassing about there being a lot of adults in the audience for Chicken Run? I wasn't embarrassed by this fact. Is he worried that someone (who?) will see and laugh at us all?

Nor does he present any compelling evidence that it is actually such a problem for society. Simply that he doesn't like it. Well perhaps it is a problem - but I would like to know why, before just accepting this as fact.

And what does he advocate instead? Well I found him rather foggy on that.

Wow. I feel much better after that rant. I've had a horrible cold this week, and needed to vent my spleen somewhere. Thanks Surlalune for providing an outlet! And Kerrie for posting the link to the article!

And by the way, of course the fact that I'm 30, read children's books, and like to fly my kite has not influenced my analysis of the above article AT ALL!!!

Registered User
(9/3/03 1:41 pm)
Re: childishness
My head hurts now...

I think I would rather play Playstation 2, run around the park, blow bubbles, play lazer tag, watch Monsters Inc., etc..., with my Wife and kids, than just sit around sipping tea with my wife and watching my kids grow up around us.

"Ahhh, remember when we were young?" She asked with a hint of jealousy.
"Yes, but this is much better." He replied.
"What? Sitting?"
"Yes sitting and watching."

Although the children leaving the house when they turn 18...THAT is still good.

I'm setting my kids up now, watching the Discovery channel.

"Do you see how the Momma bear makes sure that her cubs don't follow her anymore? Thats because they are old enough to live on their own, and they'll be better bears for it."

"But that's mean, is that going to happen to us?"

"Well, I'd let you stay, but Mom will kick you out."

For some strange reason my wife gets upset with me after watching those shows.


Registered User
(10/5/03 12:07 am)
I understand that at somepoint it became accepted that certain things were for children. The question is why? I do not watch cartoons because they remind me of my (unmissed) childhood- I watch them because I enjoy it, because they are funny or smart or silly. I have just recently expanded my reading into young adult or kids books. And I have done this not because I lack an adult's sense of understanding, but because the stories are wonderful. So who was it that decided these things were done only by children? Should being an adult mean you never get to burst into giggles or fly kites or build sandcastles or read stories or watch animated films? In my opinion, no, it doesn't. But all that adulthood does mean is another discussion altogether...
I certainly agree that single family homes are a more modern tradition, and that Frank seems to enjoy looking down on all who dare to play. I think I feel sorry for someone who has limited themselves to society's stereotypes of adult behavior. I guess he wouldn't like my Dr. Suess pj's.

Registered User
(10/6/03 9:50 am)
Unfortunately, I couldn't get on to read the article but judging from everyone's comments, I have a pretty good idea what it was about.

Sigh. I know what your saying ashkevron. Just who is it who made the "rules" about what adults can or can not do? No one with a sense of whimsey or imagination, that's for sure!

I can see a couple of things going here. One is the difference beween childISH behavior and childLIKE behavior. I'm thinking of a story I heard about Albert Einstein. Apparently, when he needed a break from dealing dealing with mathematical principles, he would grab an old etiquette book he had about and just giggle over the absurdities in it. Now no one would have the nerve to say that Einstein was childish but he strikes me as someone who was very childlike. He was able to keep alive his wonder of the universe despite being involved in a very adult occupation.

Another thing that people sometimes conveniently forget is that cartoons and childrens books are written by adults. Presumably they enjoy what they are doing so why wouldn't adults enjoy watching or reading them? Also, many cartoons are written with adults in mind. My inlaws gave my husband and I a dvd set of "Rocky and Bullwinkle" cartoons. It becomes very clear on watching them now as an adult, that much of the humor went over my head as a kid. They may have been written for kids but the adults were putting in jokes that they found funny as well. (While I'm here I should add, if any of you haven't watched the "Fractured Fairy Tales" in a while your in for a treat. They are the best part of the cartoons.)


Registered User
(10/6/03 1:02 pm)
Re: playtime
I too, was a fan of Rocky and Bullwinkle, but only because of the Fractured Fairy Tales! I was in my 20's when I became aware of them. I think that it would be nice sometime, to find all of them on DVD.

You are right about the puns, that is the one thing that I liked most. As a person who dabbles in writting Nonsense Rhyme for Children, puns and play-on-words are as tasty to me as flys to a frog.

Registered User
(10/6/03 1:17 pm)
childish behavior?
I think the author of this article whines a bit much. Does that qualify as childish? Computer games and cartoons are not "adult" forms of entertainment? How is going out to bowl with the boys or sitting around playing poker and talking trash more adult? Is a trip to Vegas more adult? Excuse me for the stereotypes, but I use them to make the point that anything that allows an escape from the daily pressures and realities of adulthood can be viewed as childish.

I agree that because cartoons are written by adults, the creators amuse themselves. However, I also think cartoons are written with adult audiences in mind, the idea being that they are a form of family entertainment. Years ago, I was watching a Roadrunner cartoon. There is moment during the intro to the cartoon in which both the bird and the coyote are frozen. On the screen comes the names of the characters and in parenthesis is the "official" Latin sounding name for the species. Well, in this particular episode, the "Latin" name for the bird reads "speedipus rex." Hardly a reference the majority of children would apprehend. Most cartoons are made for adults. When a friend and I took her 4 year old daughter to see the truly dreadful Disney version of Aladdin, I was shocked by all the sexual imagery. I kept turning to my friend and saying, "Is it my imagination or does that look like ...". One reason most adults took an instant dislike to Barney is because he does not cater to adult sensibilities - that show is geared specifically toward young children. What that says about assumptions regarding childhood television viewing is interesting ... perhaps that it is supposed that parents will merely plop their tykes in front of the TV and leave them there?

So what are adult forms of relaxation? Perhaps going to the theater to see an "important play", then back to the penthouse for drinks and witty conversation?

How is adulthood defined? For me, I did not feel like an adult until I was 32 years old and took out a car loan without a co-signer. Working a fulltime job, graduating from college, paying income and property taxes - none of that did the trick. This caused me to question what adulthood means today in industrialized societies. Does it mean having a good credit rating? Perhaps it means having adolescents look at me and see me as old (though I am a few months shy of my 37th birthday)?

If imagination is only for children and to indulge it is childish, why are artists, writers, architects, film makers, composers, engineers, advertising and marketing people (and just about any other person who must routinely use the imagination to make a living in order to meet adult responsibilities) adults? If imagination and vision are for children, we'd be living in caves. Heck, the printing press wouldn't have been invented.

However, along with "progress" much is lost. Does anyone read The Odyssey and think it is just a good story that does not educate the audience regarding customs and beliefs of the times during which it was composed? It seems obvious to me that the renewed interest of adults in exploring works of the imagination is part of a search for meaning and substance in this frenetic, dangerous contemporary world.

What is the function of literature and art, and who arbitrates such definitions? We do not live in Victorian times - why do some people (such as the author of that article) cling to a Victorian world view? When people in their twenties indulge in nostalgia, that seems to me a message that the world is speeding by too fast for them. It says more about the state of society and the downside of "progress" than it does about the maturity level of those who crave the familiar.

There are some childISH adults but I believe the consumerist society in which we live contributes to this. Instant gratification, ever shortening attention spans, inability to tolerate distress, and seeking passive forms of entertainment are, I believe, symptoms of this. However, I hardly think reading The Lord Of The Rings qualifies as childish. I grew up reading a great deal of literature for both children and adults. While I could grasp all of Romeo and Juliet as a ten year old, it was a number of years after that before I was able to apprehend fully The Lord Of The Rings.



Unregistered User
(10/6/03 9:16 pm)
This whole subject reminds me of "Kids"
Anyone recall the song "Kids" in "Bye-Bye Birdie"? ("Kids, what's the matter with kids today....why can't they be like we were perfect in every way" etc.) Well, I think you might just substitute the word adults for kids and have gotten to the gist of the article, eh?

My two cents,


Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(10/6/03 10:07 pm)
Do I have to read that dumb old article? Do I hafta?

In some essays in OF OTHER WORLDS, in the 1940s, Lewis talked about types of stories which were once common property, recently (in his time) being stuck into 'children's category. (I can imagine what he might have said about 'YA'.)

Bless Pullman and Rowling, for knocking down that fence again (after Lewis and Tolkien knocked it down earllier, and after them, Xanth)....


Unregistered User
(10/7/03 4:39 pm)
Growing up ...
Sounds like the author is mistaking fad for trend. This year it's Hello Kitty; next year it may be drag racing, or macrame.

But there's also a trend. It has nothing to do with fairy tales, of course! College freshman (at my college) aren't very adult. (I wasn't either at that age, but I think earlier generations must have been -- the kind that would head off on their own at 18, or such.) I blame it on: lack of initiation, and training in not-being-adult by society, especially high schools.

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